The Dry-Off Rucsac is such an obvious idea that it has just been begging me to design it. I have spent the past few summers lugging stuff backwards and forwards to the beach thinking, Surely we could double up on some of this stuff.
And so here it is, a large fluffy towel that zips up into a rucsac to carry your swim suit and water bottle AND opens up on the other side as beach mat for sunning yourself. Perfect for cycling to the pool or giving you free hands to carry all other necessities for the beach. The ONLY complicated thing about this is remembering how to fold and zip it up once you’ve made it.
I love the zingy citrus green of the towel combined the the turquoise cotton. They are such summer colours and suit my daughter who is not much of a girly girl, but more of an adventurer! The tartan fabric is from Fabworks Mill Shop. They have a great selection of cotton shirting and now sell fabric online.
So, here is the materials list and tutorial for the Dry-off Rucsac. It is quick to make and don’t be put off if you struggle with zips. This uses an open ended zip which goes on in 2 halves and is SUPER easy.
You will need:
- a large towel. Any standard rectangular shape or size is fine.
- a piece of backing fabric that is a good couple of inches / 5cm larger than you towel. Or it would be a great way to use your remnants – patch them together to make a multi coloured block. 100% cotton would be ideal for this as it will wash well and absorb moisture when drying off in the same way that the towel does.
- You will also need an OPEN END zip that is approx. 1/3 of the length of your towel. Make sure you don’t buy a standard zip by mistake. Your zip needs to come apart at the bottom like a coat zip.
- a little extra fabric (1/4 of a metre) to make ties and shoulder straps.
You need to start by covering one side of the towel. Pin your fabric to your towel and wrap over the edges to make neat mitred corners. Here is the tutorial I use for mitred corners from Crafting with Christie. It is extremely simple and gives you a lovely finish, especially if you are using a check fabric – no wonky edges – just follow the lines of the check.
Once you have covered one side of your towel with fabric, you will need to make the ties and shoulder straps. Cut 2 long thin rectangles for the straps that are 7cm/ 3 inches x 60cm / 24 inches, sew down one side and turn inside out. I actually tapered mine to make them narrower at the bottom like on a proper rucsac – but it isn’t necessary. For those of you who don’t already know, here is the easy way to turn tubes of fabric inside out.
Make your tie in the same way – 2.5cm/1 inch wide by 60cm/24inches long.
Now for the bit where you need to concentrate. Here’s the layout showing you how to fold your towel up. You need to fold it up to mark on where to put the zip and ties. The colours I have used correspond to my photograph (in that the green is towel and the blue is the cotton covering.)
Once you have covered and edged your towel, lay it out with the towel side facing up as shown:
Now you have it folded up, mark onto your towel where you will need your zip. It goes up the back to hold the 2 sides together. Pin the 2 sides of the zip into place while the towel is folded still up. Mark where you need to add your ties and loops.
Here is a photo (below) to show how the loops and tie hold the rucsac together. I could try and explain it but I think a picture says a thousand words. It makes a pretty bow at the back at the top of the zip.
When you open your towel up again your zips and ties should be where they are shown on the diagram below. Double check that you zips, ties and loops tally with the diagram before you sew them all in place.
Position your straps near the top of the zip at a slight angle as shown. Pin them in place and sew with a double layer of stitching for strength. Pin and sew the bottoms of the straps on the outer edge, in line with the bottom of the zip. Turn the ends of your straps under as I have shown on the side-view diagram below. It just looks a bit neater and sits better on your back.
And, voila – you have it made!
Don’t forget to practise folding it up a couple of times before you head out or you will end up in total confusion for the way home. Have a great summer!